Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

Racism and Sexism in San Francisco Transit

Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

Racism and Sexism in San Francisco Transit

Article excerpt

Racism and Sexism in San Francisco Transit

Katrinell M. Davis. Hard Work Is Not Enough: Gender and Racial Inequality in an Urban Workspace. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, January 9, 2017. ISBN: 978-1-4696-3048-9. $27.95. 196pp. 6.125X9.25". 14 illustrations.

This book echoes what I have been writing and thinking about lately. Gender and race bias is rampant today because the Great Recession leftthe most vulnerable Americans in a difficult position because they are more disposable for the elite than the white men that continue to run America's businesses. American propogandists have been drumming that welfare is a crutch for the weak, and pushing the poor offit and into undesirable, dead-end jobs that do not give any hope for upward mobility. One of the central groups studied are African American transit women workers in San Francisco. They are kept down by de-unionization, and the resulting shifts in government policies that leave only a few narrow cracks for low-skilled works to insert themselves into the capitalist system. I temporarily worked as a clerk in the Los Angeles transit system, so this is a familiar topic. This history is not only of the present day, but of the initial opportunity shifts that initially created this opening for unskilled, women and minorities when segregation and exclusion started to fade in the 1970s. From there the story moves through the decades into the present where these workers are still kept down by "persistent bias." One of the last interesting bits of the book are the digressions into discussions about these working women's mothers, children and other family members. The difficulty of maintaining a work-life balance takes center-stage. This constant stress of the role family plays in women's life, so much so that it can displace work as a serious concern, always bothers me. Just like men, some women are attached to families and take time out for them, while others are more passionate about their jobs. …

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